Miranda Zaragoza - MSHA Class 56

About Yourself

I just graduated this May from the University of Arizona with a B.S. in Public Health and minor in Business Administration. However, I am actually from Southern California. I will be an incoming MSHA/MSHI dual-degree graduate student. Also, I will be a teaching assistant for UAB’s undergraduate health care management program.

About Your Class

I adore all of class 56 already so much and we have not even had our orientation yet! From the very first day that Dr. Amy Landry released the MSHA class 56 roster with our email addresses, we took it upon ourselves to create a class 56 group chat. We’ve created excel sheets with our birthdays, hometowns, and fun facts about ourselves. We’ve also connected over helping each other find answers for any questions we may have, offering to help each other move-in, and just getting to know about each other. I’ve genuinely never been so excited to start school.

What does it mean to you to be a part of the #1 ranked MSHA program?

Being a part of the #1 ranked MSHA program means so much to me! When applying for graduate schools, I was sure that I would not be able to be a part of UAB’s #1 ranked MSHA program due to the financial constraints of being an out-of-state and independent self-supporting student. The program's commitment to hear me, understand me, and do their best to support my dreams of being in this program makes it so clear to me why they are ranked #1; UAB’s MSHA program is dedicated to providing well-rounded support.

To be a part of the #1 ranked MSHA programs means being a part of a system that is more like a close-knit family than anything else. To be a part of the #1 ranked MSHA program means being presented with unique professional development opportunities to optimize our chance of making a positive impact in the healthcare industry. To be a part of the #1 ranked MSHA program means having access to meet, collaborate with, and learn from diverse health care leaders.

What makes you most excited about the MSHA program?

I’m not even sure where to begin! One of the first things that caught my eye about the MSHA program is the cohort model. Each class is quite small, but creates a close-knit family and network. Everyone in the MSHA program is unique with different backgrounds, experiences, and comes from around the world. Even better, previous/current MSHA class cohorts and alumni are so eager to get to welcome us, know us, and offer mentorship. I’m most excited to create close bonds and learn something from every one of my classmates! I am overwhelmed with excitement and proud to be a part of the MSHA program! It’s wonderful to know that even when I graduate and I become an MSHA alumni that the benefits of the strong MSHA community is always going to be something that I have.

What do you hope to learn this year especially in light of the pandemic and Covid-19?

In light of the pandemic and Covid-19, I’m hoping to discuss and learn more from diverse perspectives about innovative strategies and meaningful approaches to promote health equity and reduce health disparities. Covid-19 has revealed many hard truths about the way the U.S. healthcare system is handling the Coronavirus pandemic. Coronavirus mortality and morbidity rates have spotlighted the health disparities amongst racial and ethnic minority groups. I’m eager to strike up a conversation and acquire a better knowledge regarding methods to eliminate barriers toward achieving equitable health care and outcomes.

On a positive note, there have been many notable improvements, changes, and implementations to the healthcare system during this pandemic. I’ve been happy to see the rise of the formally underutilized tools like telehealth medicine to limit the exposure to covid-19 and care for the individuals in rural areas without access to health systems. Similarly, it’s been amazing to see an increasing array of community-based covid-19 testing sites for everyone in the United States, insured and uninsured. I’m looking forward to learning from my MSHA/MSHI colleagues and faculty members regarding ways in which we can strive toward a better healthcare system through the promotion of recognizing the lack of social justice & equity, encouraging the empowerment of good public health collaboration, and acknowledging this continuous need for diversity, enhancement, innovation, and participation.

How do you see yourself impacting our health system in the future?

I have so many aspirations and plans to positively impact our health system in a multitude of ways. Receiving a scholarship has opened up countless opportunities Even as I am just starting my career in health administration, I hope that I can inspire and guide the next wave of future healthcare leaders through mentorship and continuing the tradition of ‘paying it forward’. Mentorship has always been my favorite form of leadership. As a first-generation college student, I have been mentored by many individuals regarding various topics (ex. Career, academics, etc.). As a matter of fact, I was inspired and mentored through the graduate school application process by an alumni of UAB’s health administration program.

Current students of the MSHA program have reached out and are more than eager to talk about their experiences, answer questions, and give advice regarding the pathway toward health administration. I’ve also had the opportunity to mentor my younger sister through her first year of college, other first-year college students, and many first-generation college students. As an incoming teaching assistant, I fully plan to present myself as a resource and mentor for the undergraduate health management students. Once I graduate and gain employment in the healthcare industry, inspiring and educating the next health leaders is really important to me. The positive capabilities and energy of mentoring is truly unlike anything else and means everything to me. Mentorship is an identity and passion that I hope to identify with for as long as I can. Mentorship matters in health care and I aspire to make a positive impact in our health system through building strong relationships in a mentoring role.